Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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15 Common Questions About Life Insurance

15 Common Questions About Life Insurance

Life isn’t one-size-fits-all – and neither is life insurance.

Planning for the future can feel exciting and scary at the same time. Whether you’re buying your very first policy or planning for the next chapter of your legacy, it’s common to have questions.

Here are some common questions you might be wondering. (Want a more personalized answer – or a quote? Talk to your local ERIE agent.)

  1. How much life insurance do I need, anyway? A number of factors – including your age, debts, monthly expenses and number of children – can influence how much life insurance you may need to comfortably plan for your future. A local insurance professional like an ERIE agent can give you a free quote based on your unique needs. As a general rule of thumb, the experts at LifeHappens.org recommend purchasing a policy worth 10 to 15 times your gross income. Try out our free life insurance calculator for a private, no-obligation estimate you can do right at home.
  2. Isn’t life insurance really expensive? Purchasing an insurance policy worth hundreds of thousands of dollars may sound like an expensive proposition. But the truth is, life insurance is more affordable than you may think. With Erie Family Life, a $250,000 life insurance policy could cost less than $15 a month1.
  3. Do I need a medical exam to purchase life insurance? Not always, but do expect to answer certain questions. Generally speaking, it’s more likely you’ll need an exam as your age and/or the amount of coverage requested increases. For some life insurance policies, your insurer will require a brief medical exam, more commonly referred to as a paramedical exam. It’s similar to a basic physical. A paramedical exam professional will measure vitals like your height, weight, temperature and blood pressure. You’ll also have to have blood drawn and a urinalysis test completed.
  4. Can I purchase life insurance without a health exam? Not all life policies require you to get a paramedical exam. Life policies below $100,000 typically require you to only complete an application (with the help of your agent) before it is reviewed by an underwriter2. Looking for more coverage? Ask your local agent about ERIExpress Life. If you’re between the ages of 18-55, you may be able to get an instant-issue term or whole life policy with up to $500,000 in coverage by answering several application questions without having to complete a life insurance paramedical medical exam 2.
  5. Why should I think about life insurance if I’m young and healthy? Life insurance is a smart purchase at any age. Even if no one depends on your monthly income, a life insurance policy will cover your funeral expenses and debts — including student loans. And there’s another advantage of purchasing a policy at a young age: lower rates. Because insurers price policies based on risk (and young people have a far lower mortality rate than older groups), your rates are generally less expensive if you’re young and healthy. Buying a policy when you’re young and healthy makes it easier for you to buy more coverage in the future. Plus, you’ll have a policy (locked in at a great rate) now, should you ever need it.
  6. I have a policy through work. Isn’t that enough? As part of an overall benefits package, many employers offer some form of life insurance coverage to their employees. Since this coverage is typically paid for by the employer, it’s a great benefit to have. But it’s still wise to hold your own personal life insurance policy. There are a few reasons for this. First, the coverage provided by your employer might not be enough to support your family in the event of your death. Employer-provided life insurance often covers you for a low set amount — like $50,000. Additionally, your coverage will be lost if you take another job or find yourself unemployed. Read more in our related story on why it matters to have life insurance outside of work.
  7. I don’t work outside the home. Why should I think about life insurance? Being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job. And while your work may not generate an income, it does significantly reduce your household expenses. Think of all the extra costs associated with child care, transportation and meal preparation that would be incurred if you were no longer around. Just because you don’t bring home a paycheck doesn’t mean you aren’t making a significant contribution to your family’s bottom line. Read more about life insurance for stay-at-home parents.
  8. What’s the difference between term and permanent life insurance? Term life insuranceprovides coverage over a fixed period of time. Term life insurance is a cost-effective option to provide protection for the loved ones you leave behind. With this type of policy, you can select a term that will cover you when you need it most — such as the time it will take your children to reach adulthood. Permanent policies, such as whole life policies, provide coverage over your entire lifetime.2 That means your family and beneficiaries are covered for the duration of your life. Whole life insurance accumulates cash value, too, providing you the option of borrowing against it in the future.3
  9. I’m a rock climber. Can you still cover me? Assessing risk is a key component of underwriting a life insurance policy.  Dangerous hobbies — like skydiving, rock climbing or vehicle racing — make you inherently riskier to insure. However, just because you’re an adrenaline junkie doesn’t automatically mean you can’t get life insurance. Before giving you a quote, your insurance agent may ask you to fill out a written questionnaire to understand more about your hobby. In many cases, you’ll still be able to get insurance. Just expect to pay a little extra to account for the additional risk.
  10. Can I “stretch the truth” a little in my life insurance application to get a better rate? When applying for a life insurance policy, you’ll get asked questions about your occupation, health, family medical history and potentially risky hobbies. While your answers to these questions may impact your insurance rates, you should always answer them truthfully.  Misrepresenting your health status or other important information in your application could result in negative consequences that might affect your coverage.
  11. Couldn’t my family just crowdfund my final expenses if I pass away unexpectedly? Websites like GoFundMe provide a platform for users to ask for online donations to cover funeral and burial costs, or to fund other memorial wishes in honor of a loved one who passed. But crowdfunding is no substitution for life insurance. Unlike a life insurance policy, the amount of money you’ll raise is totally unpredictable — and may be further reduced by fees and taxes.
  12. What is a life insurance beneficiary? A beneficiary is a person or entity designated to receive the funds from your life insurance policy in the event of your death. Your beneficiary can be a person, business, trust, charity, church or even a school. An insurance policy can have more than one beneficiary.
  13. How do I choose a beneficiary? Choosing a life insurance beneficiary depends largely on how you’d like your life insurance benefit to be used upon your death. If you have young children, naming a spouse or close family member you trust as your beneficiary and memorializing your wishes may be one way to provide for your children’s care in your absence. Grown children could use the insurance benefit to help pay for college. Ask your ERIE agent about how to leave your benefit to a charity, school or church. In those cases, it’s recommended to have your gift be consistent with an established pattern of giving or support. Read our related article on how to choose a life insurance beneficiary.
  14. Could I be the beneficiary of a long-lost life insurance policy? It’s estimated that $1 billion in benefits from forgotten and lost life insurance policies are sitting unclaimed in America. In light of that statistic, it’s possible you could be a beneficiary to a life insurance policy that you’re unaware of. Organizations like the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, which operates missingmoney.com, allow you to conduct a quick search online. Learn more in our related blog story on how to locate a lost life insurance policy.
  15. I don’t have kids. Why should I think about life insurance? The need for life insurance isn’t limited to parents. Whether you’re entering adulthood or nearing retirement, everyone can benefit from owning a life insurance policy. Beyond providing for children, a life insurance benefit can be used to cover expenses like funeral costs or pay off any outstanding debts.
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Medicare Supplement Insurance

Medicare Supplement Insurance: Is Plan F Going Away?

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, Medigap plans sold to people new to Medicare won’t be allowed to cover the Part B deductible. Because of this, Plans C and F will no longer be available to people who are new to Medicare on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

However, if you already have one of these two plans (or the high deductible version of Plan F), you’ll be able to keep your plan. Also, if you were eligible for Medicare before Jan. 1, 2020, but haven’t enrolled yet, you may still be able to buy one of these plans.

For individuals with existing Plan F coverage: If you ever decide to switch carriers for any reason, you’ll still be allowed to maintain your Plan F coverage. This type of change will be subject to underwriting, so those considering a switch should keep this in mind.

WHY IS PLAN F GOING AWAY?

On Jan. 1, 2020, MACRA officially takes effect. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is the Federal Law that will be impacting Medicare Supplement plans in all states. Only beneficiaries with existing Plan F coverage will be able to keep Plan F. Plan G will be the new “go-to” plan for those newly eligible for coverage after Jan. 1, 2020.

WHAT IS PLAN G?

Medicare Parts A and B provide insurance coverage for health-related expenses, but they don’t cover all of the health care costs you may have. While all Medicare Supplement plans help offset those costs, Plan G will now offer the most comprehensive coverage for those becoming newly eligible to Medicare.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLAN F AND PLAN G?

The key difference between Plan F and Plan G is that Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible. This is because the federal government wanted to have each beneficiary have a vested interest in their care. The good news: premiums for Plan G are generally less expensive by more than the $250 deductible amount. Meaning although you’ll be responsible for the $250 deductible, you could save more than $350 in total premium. (Premium savings will vary by carrier.)

WHAT DOES PLAN G COVER?

If you choose Medicare Supplement Plan G from Erie Family Life, you won’t incur any out-of-pocket costs for expenses such as:

  • Part A deductible
  • Part A hospital copayments
  • Part B copayments
  • Part B excess physician charges
  • Skilled nursing facility coinsurance
  • Foreign emergency care

Medicare Supplement Plan G will still be a great option for those becoming newly eligible for Medicare. Plan G continues to allow you to choose any physician for your care, including specialists, while eliminating many out-of-pocket expenses associated with that care. Instead of paying copays and deductibles, you’ll pay a monthly premium for your Medicare Supplement plan.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT PLAN?

If you are age 65 or over and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan policy.

You can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan policy if you are age 65 or over and enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. The one-time Open Enrollment period, which begins on the first day of the month an individual is 65, or older, and enrolled in Part B provides for guaranteed issue. Individuals under age 65 eligible for and enrolled in Part B; are not eligible for guaranteed issue unless they have lost or are losing creditable coverage. In some states, Medicare Supplement insurance policies are available to people with disabilities who are under the age 65.

If you’re considering a Medicare Supplement plan, a great place to start is by contacting your ERIE agent or find a local agent. Have your Medicare ID card ready. Your agent can help answer your questions to determine which plan is right for you, and provide a free quote.

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Workers Compensation

What to Know About Workers’ Compensation and Working from Home

In the midst of this pandemic, you may have found yourself among the 63 percent of Americans working from home. A recent Gartner poll predicts that 48 percent of workers will continue to work remote at least part time even when it’s safe to physically return to work again.

Of course, working from home has pros and cons. It also raises serious questions like what would happen if an employee becomes injured while performing work at home.

Workers’ compensation (often shortened to workers’ comp) laws and requirements vary by state, but generally, any business that has employees must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It helps cover medical care and lost wages for an employee who is hurt at work.

With many employees working from the kitchen table or the home office, it helps to know how workers’ compensation can kick in. (As always, talk to your local ERIE agent for questions about your specific policy.)

WILL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVER AN EMPLOYEE IF THEY GET INJURED WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?

If an employee is hurt on work premises, they’re typically covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for injury or disease employees sustain in the course and scope of employment. It applies regardless of negligence, with workers’ compensation laws varying by state.

Most telecommuters are still covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation coverage, whether full-time remote workers or temporary due to pandemic stay-at-home orders.

“It’s important to remember that workers’ compensation insurance isn’t tied to a building,” says Leo Heintz, vice president of commercial products at ERIE. “It follows you wherever you go, subject to the policy conditions, while you’re at work.”

WHAT ARE COMMON INJURIES THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN WORKING FROM HOME?

Common injuries telecommuting office workers experience include carpal tunnel syndrome; back sprains and strains; and slips, trips and falls. The injury or disease typically has to arise out of a work-related activity to be covered under workers’ comp.

“Injuries are possible even if you have a desk job,” Heintz said. “That’s why it’s important to practice the same good ergonomic activities at your home office as you do when at your regular office. Simple things like good posture and remembering to take time and stretch, or getting up and walking around, can make all the difference.”

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Hail Damage

What to Know About Hail, Roof Damage and Common Scams

A hailstorm just blew in through your neighborhood. Suddenly, there are people at your door telling you they can repair your home’s damage quickly and easily. What would you do?

While some hail damage may be obvious, you can’t always trust that someone showing up to your door has your best interests in mind.

The size and density of a hailstone will determine the severity of damage you’ll find after a storm. While some hailstorms can cause severe damage to your car and home, others can leave little to no harm at all.

If you’ve recently battled a hailstorm, here is what you need to know about hail, roof damage, homeowners insurance and common scams.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A HAILSTORM?

When the storm has passed and it’s safe to go outside, inspect any damage that may have occurred to your car or home. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends contacting your insurance agent immediately if you suspect hail damage. Your ERIE agent knows the ins and outs of your specific policy and can help you determine whether you should file a claim to help cover the cost of repairs.

To help your agent, be sure to record the date and timeframe the storm occurred and take photos that can help support your claim.

For more hail safety tips, read our guide on what to do before, during and after a hail storm.

COMMON SIGNS OF HAIL DAMAGE

You may spot hail damage in a few different places on your property including roof, siding, windows, outdoor furniture and vehicles. Damage can look different depending on the object.

Signs of hail damage to a car:

  • Chipped or cracked windshield
  • Dents on the roof or other areas of your vehicle
  • Other dings or paint scratches

Signs of hail damage to a home:

  • Dents in gutters or outside vents
  • Chipped or cracked windows or skylights
  • Damage appearing on one side of the roof
  • “Bruises” or dark spots appear on shingles in a random pattern

While some damage can be easy to spot, you may not always be able to see the damage hail has done to your roof.

An insurance adjuster knows the difference between roof damage from hail versus regular wear and tear. We recommend letting a trained and trusted professional up on your roof to check for any potential problems.

WHAT IS HAIL FRAUD?

Having to deal with weather damage is bad enough. Unfortunately, there can also be fraudulent roofing contractors that emerge after a storm, sometimes called “storm chasers.”

They often appear quickly after a storm and claim that your roof has been seriously damaged by wind and hail. Many “storm-chasing” contractors are transient, moving around the country following recent storm activity to increase their chance of landing a sale.

The IBHS and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently teamed up to offer this list of tips to spread awareness of roofing contractor fraud.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HAIL FRAUD?

Storm chasers may point out pre-existing damage, create their own damage, or say that there is damage when there isn’t. Here are some signs that you should think twice:

  • “Free” inspection: Someone wise once said nothing good in life is free. While reputable contractors might offer free inspections with no strings attached, be cautious that some fraudsters might use this tactic to get on your roof and point out damage that isn’t there. Worse, some might create their own damage.
  • They pressure you: Those in the con business often pressure you to make a quick decision during a difficult or stressful time. Give yourself space and time to contact your insurance agent and make the right decision.
  • The contract has blanks: Your contract should be detailed and include an estimate on cost, work schedules, payment schedules, listed contractors and more.
  • Upfront payment: While it’s reasonable for any contractor to ask for a down payment, fraudulent contractors often demand all or a large amount of the payment upfront. Sometimes, they’ll take your cash and dash after performing shoddy work – or no work at all. Trustworthy contractors will often organize a payment schedule that works best with your schedule.

If you do find damage to your roof or other areas after a storm, a trustworthy contractor will work with your insurance company to help fix the damage.

HIRING A CONTRACTOR AFTER A HAIL STORM

As you begin your search for a contractor, here are some tips:

  • Get multiple estimates. Don’t rely on a single estimate as being the one with the best price – or the best work. Do some research and get estimates from three to four different contractors.
  • Ask to see their license and proof of insurance. Make sure both are real and up to date.
  • Ask for references. Has this contractor worked on similar projects? Do their references speak highly of them?
  • Take the right steps. Hiring a contractor can be stressful, especially when you’ve discovered some recent damage from a storm. Read through our full checklist of tips to consider when hiring a contractor.

DOES MY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER HAIL DAMAGE?

The average cost for a hail damage claim can average about $15,000 – which varies based on how long the storm was, the size of the hail and the amount of damage it caused.  Generally speaking, most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from hail and wind caused by storms. Coverage can vary, however, for example, manufacturing defects that existed prior to the storm might not be covered under a hail damage claim. Check with your insurance agent about the specifics of your policy.

Uncertainty is part of life, but that’s why you have insurance. Talk to an insurance professional like your local Erie Insurance agent.They can tell you more about the options ERIE offers and help you get you a free quote customized for your home.

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Severe Weather

Prepare for Hurricane Isaias

Severe WeatherHurricane Isaias is expected to travel northward, impacting North Carolina and Virginia early next week. Even if the storm center does not make landfall, it is likely to cause high winds and heavy rain along the coast and inland.

If you experience a loss related to the storm and need to file a claim, Erie Insurance and your Agent are here to help. For claims service during evenings and weekends, call (800) 367-3743.

We encourage you to stay off the roads during heavy rains and follow these tips to reduce damage and stay safe:

• Bring in garbage cans, lawn furniture, bikes, toys, hanging plants and lawn decorations. If possible, remove the swings on your child’s swing set to prevent unnecessary damage.

• Move furnishings and valuables to the highest point in your house.

• Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy in case of loss of power. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.

• If you lose power, turn off all major appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is turned back on.

• Do not drive or walk through standing water. Water can be deeper than it appears, and two feet of water can sweep away most cars and six inches of moving water can sweep you away when walking.

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Erie - COVID-19

8 Things ERIE is Doing During COVID-19

When Erie Insurance opened for business in 1925, our co-founder H.O. Hirt inspired us with his motto: Never lose the human touch.

Well… these days, the “human touch” looks a lot different. But that spirit is still alive in us at ERIE, where we’re still here for you and the communities we serve.

Check our COVID-19 Information Center for the latest news and announcements. For questions about your specific policy, review our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

In case you missed it: Here’s a recap of what we’re doing to help.

HOW IS ERIE INSURANCE HELPING CUSTOMERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS?

We’re providing financial relief, flexible payment options, community support and more. Here’s what to know.

  1. Customer dividends, mailed directly to you in May: Most people are doing the right thing by staying home and not driving. We’re following suit by doing the right thing, too. ERIE is providing $200 million in dividends directly to our personal and commercial auto insurance customers, pending regulatory approval. This immediate relief represents about 30% of related auto insurance premiums over a two-month period, or 5% of your annual premium. There’s no need to call your ERIE agent or request a check – it will be mailed directly to you. Learn more about our customer dividends, announced April 21, 2020.
  2. Lower auto insurance rates for long-term relief: In addition to the dividends mentioned above, we’re lowering auto insurance rates for personal and commercial customers for long-term, steady and stable relief. Pending regulatory approval, rate reductions will vary by state and will be based on individually purchased policies and coverage options. Once approved, premium adjustments will take effect at the time of renewal and the estimated total will provide an additional $200 million in financial relief to ERIE customers. Learn more about our rate reductions, announced April 9, 2020.
  3. Flexible payment and billing options: Your local agent can help you with updating coverages. Agents and ERIE’s Customer Care teams may also be able to assist with delaying payment dates, adjusting installments, changing pay plans and waiving penalties and fees. In addition, some billing requests including deferring payments and nonpay cancellations can also be requested through erieinsurance.com/help or through your ERIE Online Account.
  4. Contact-free life insurance coverage: For a limited time, Erie Family Life is offering applicants a path to life insurance coverage without the requirement of a paramedical exam. The option to waive the exam is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The waiver provides Erie Insurance customers the ability to obtain life insurance without in-person interaction. The offer is available for applicants up to age 55 and policy face amounts up to $500,000. Learn more about the paramedical exam waiver, announced March 24, 2020.
  5. Expanding identity recovery services to extended family members living elsewhere: Social distancing directives result in many people staying connected virtually, which may result in increased exposure to cybercrime. ERIE offers identity recovery coverage with all ErieSecure Home® bundles and as an add-on to our Home Protector policies. Through August 2020, we’re extending support services to assist in recovering from a possible identity theft at no additional cost to include our customers’ extended family members, including those not residing with the policyholder. This includes:
    • Adult children (26 or older), their spouse and their children
    • Parents, including stepparents and legally adoptive parents
    • Siblings, including step-siblings and adoptive siblings
  6. Gift card reimbursement coverage: From your favorite lunch spot to that funky art gallery, our local small businesses make our hometowns feel like home. We rely on them daily – and now, they need us. So go ahead and stock up on gift cards, worry-free. Pending regulatory approval in several states, Erie Insurance is adding gift card and gift certificate reimbursement coverage to the company’s ErieSecure Home® policies. The additional feature, included at no additional cost, would reimburse customers for remaining balances on gift cards that can no longer be used at independently owned and operated local businesses due to business closures.Learn more about our gift card coverage, announced April 16, 2020.
  7. Giving back to our hometown: Erie Insurance provided a lead gift to support the Erie Community Foundation’s new COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund recently established in our home city of Erie, Pennsylvania. This fund will directly support 501(c)(3) organizations in Erie County, Pennsylvania that are providing support to those in need, administering care for children, serving elderly populations who are most vulnerable and helping those suffering hardships and job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  8. Giving back to our agents and all the communities we serve: Our agents and employees are stepping up to thank first responders, healthcare workers and others on the front lines. To boost that, we’re making nearly $2.5 million available to agents and branch offices to support their charitable work in local communities.

For 95 years, we’ve been standing by our customers in times of hardship and catastrophe. These times are unprecedented, but our mission hasn’t changed. From 1925 to today, our mission to “do the right thing” still drives every decision we make.

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